Friday, July 1, 2011


Oh what a day it has been! I woke up at 4.30 am and rushed to my colleague's place at Great Portland Street to help her carry cupcakes to our enterprise venue, which we reached by taking the overground- a first for me, despite being a Londoner for three years already. We were greeted by an assortment of pastries for breakfast, none of which I took a particular liking to except the apple turnover. After a short team briefing, I was assigned the task of walking around the local area to garner in sales with a guy who worked on a presidential campaign in the past and another postgraduate who will be studying in Paris next year. What a happy trio we were, at least at the start! Task of the day for our team: Produce and sell lunch items to make the most profit for our charity!

Our sales team was really inefficient. We walked into schools and high rise banks only to get the receptionists smile at us and promise to paste up our menu on the announcement boards. It was all wrong to me. To me, it was glaringly obvious how wrong that strategy was. How can anyone pay attention to a piece of paper with a sticker logo of our charity and a handwritten contact number to pre-order lunch on the same day itself, due in a few hours time? Next, whenever we approached someone, two of my colleagues would suddenly launch their pitches at the same time, overburdening the listener with information. Also, one of them only mentioned the name of our employer (not a very smart thing to do as some people have horrible sentiments towards institutions of that sort) and only the lunch items, without any mention of our charity! I was quite surprised at his street skills. Then again, I did not have a better strategy but I was critical of his ways and tried to point out that what we were doing was completely and utterly useless. In the end, we had absolutely no results and just wasted our energy when we could have helped with the production line! It was my biggest regret of the day and I was very frustrated that my team was not able to see ourselves out from such a hopeless state of being. Perhaps our only consolation was in bumping into some BOA interns who were doing less interesting stuff. :P Just kidding..

When we got back to our venue at 10.15 am, I immediately volunteered my services to the production line. It was MUCH better use of resources. I never made so many sandwiches in my entire life! Our team made so many Ploughman's, Thai Sweet Chilli and Tuna sanwiches and baguettes along with fruit and tuna salad. Some of us went out into the streets to pull people in to buy our lunch menus. Others rushed around in Borris bikes, trying to get deliveries in at the right time. It was tension and excitement as the day's lunch period finally arrived. I have to say that our inventory management was swell! Towards the end, everyone launched themselves as salespersons, diving into stores and selling sandwiches cheaply. Some people were sympathetic! One guy asked me to take all his spare change on the counter for our charity. Another guy just handed 1 pound coins to me without wanting to buy anything. Another man just told me that he simply doesn't want to donate to charity. Another guy cheekily said he was fasting. Very interestingly, another person on the street just grabbed some sandwiches off our basket because he thought they were for free! These were the things we saw, our team of 4, one sweet Vietnamese lady, the political campaign guy, a hot Irish guy with a stern face but an amazing smile, and plain old me. Have I already mentioned how lucky I am to be inspired by all these people? Not one word of complaint from them the whole day. Not one ounce of reluctance from anyone when asked to perform any task (well, except from one other intern who didn't want to package anymore tuna baguettes because he was sick of doing it), which in my opinion, is rare as rare can be!

At 1.45pm, sales were to stop. Period. We came back to our venue, with minimal levels of stock! Pure joy! Our facilitator invited us to lunch, a spread of food which in my humble opinion looked far less amazing than the ones we ourselves prepared :P. He shared some golden moments with us. The time when everyone dashed around looking desperately for a can opener (I learned later that some of my team mates actually tore open the can of tuna with his bare hands). And the other was when another Irish team member danced his 'kicking victory dance' when he was dead knackered at the end of the day after pulling in customer after customer. Golden indeed! It was even more amazing when our profit figure of about GBP583 was announced  by the accounting team. The sense of achievement that settled in our hearts is just indescribable!

When we gather back at our training centre with the rest of the interns, the winners were announced at a profit of GBP719. Although we were vouching for the first place, we ended up second. Honestly, everyone in our team were dissapointed. But the joy was in the brevity of that. We gave ourselves a good pat on our backs. We were AMAZING! We were a TEAM and we LEARNED a lot from today!

Enough said.

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